Stuck on login screen with "Optimizing Your Mac" notification after entering correct password #

Encountered on two different Macs with fresh macOS installs recently:

  1. On first boot, import data via Migration Assistant, assigning same user password as original when prompted
  2. Migration Assistant completes successfully; attempt login
  3. Password accepted, but stuck on login screen with a spinning progress indicator and "Optimizing Your Mac" notification

Resolved by:

  1. Deleting /var/db/.AppleSetupDone and creating second user during Setup Assistant
  2. Logging in as second user and changing password for first user
  3. Logging in as first user with new password (no longer hanging after entering password) and changing password back to original - Keychain items preserved

(Booting into macOS Recovery and running resetpassword from Terminal or simply waiting for the login to complete (>10 minutes, <40 minutes on a third Mac tested recently) may also work.)

Similar reports:

/mac | May 23, 2020

Subscribe or visit the archives.